Throughout the course of your life, you may find yourself involved with the legal system. Perhaps you were in a car accident, are engaged in a business dispute, or decided to file for divorce. Given the cost and time-consuming nature of litigation, you may have found yourself searching for an alternative. Just see the Cleveland mediation attorney for your need.
One option for resolving cases without going to trial is mediation. In this process, both parties sit down with a neutral third party — the mediator — to try to reach a settlement. Mediation can be particularly helpful in divorce cases, as it allows each party to put aside their hostility and work together for the good of their family.
The prospect of mediation may seem daunting. A Cleveland mediation attorney can help you, advocating for you throughout the process and working to protect your interests.
What Is Mediation?
Under Ohio’s Uniform Mediation Act, mediation is a process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to help them achieve a voluntary agreement about a legal dispute. The mediator is a neutral third party who conducts the mediation.
A mediator offers a forum that allows each party (and their attorneys) to discuss their dispute and any issues that may be related. During mediation, all parties may be in the same room, or in separate rooms, with the mediator going back and forth between rooms. Throughout the process, each party’s lawyer will advise their respective clients about the law and their options based on the law.
The mediator’s role is to facilitate communication and help the parties achieve an agreement. They do not act as a judge or make any decisions in the case. If an agreement cannot be reached, then matter will move to the next step in the process, such as litigation.
Ohio law protects the communications that occur during mediation from being disclosed in the court process (with some exceptions for things like threats of harm or disclosure of a crime). However, unless the parties enter into a confidentiality agreement at the outset of mediation, the communications can be disclosed in other settings.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation gives parties involved in a legal dispute more control over the outcome of the case. Rather than letting a judge or jury make a decision about how a case is resolved, with mediation, the two parties can come together to identify potential solutions and even include issues that may not have been included in the case.
An agreement that was reached through mediation is more likely to meet your needs than an order imposed by a court. Because the setting is more relaxed, each party may be more willing to work together to reach a solution. Mediation also eliminates the risk of losing in court or getting a judgment that is not what you wanted.
Mediation is also more cost-effective than litigation, with mediators typically charging a fee that is far less ($100 to $300 per hour) than what you may pay if your case went to trial. In some situations, the court will provide mediation services at no charge to the parties. Finally, mediation can be more efficient than the litigation process, where taking a case to trial can take months or even years.
How Can Mediation Be Used in Family Law Cases?
In Ohio, mediation is commonly used in divorce cases. Divorce mediation can be used for all issues in a divorce, including parenting schedules, child support, parent responsibilities, spousal support, property division, and other financial matters. However, if the mediation occurs through the court, then you may be limited to mediating issues related to parenting.
For example, the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court offers certified mediators for individuals. These mediators will work with the parties on issues related to parental rights and responsibilities and children’s living arrangements and schedules, but will not address financial matters. An individual may request mediation, or the court may refer the parties for mediation at various points in the divorce process.
There may be additional benefits to divorce mediation beyond the typical advantages of this process. This is particularly true when child custody is at stake in the divorce.
Mediation can allow each party to avoid the stress and hostility that is often associated with going to trial to get a divorce. Children often benefit from this more collaborative, positive experience. When kids are already adjusting to a number of changes in their lives due to divorce, having their parents work together to come to an agreement that benefits them can be incredibly helpful.
If domestic violence has been an issue in your marriage, the mediator can take potential safety issues into account as part of the process. The mediator can take steps to protect you, such as having each party in a separate room or conducting the mediation over the phone. Importantly, issues related to domestic violence cannot be mediated.
Turn to Experienced Cleveland Mediation Attorneys for Help
Divorce can be an emotionally-draining process and is often expensive and time-consuming. Mediation can help to reduce the stress and costs of a divorce by allowing the parties to work together to reach an agreement, with the help of a neutral third party. A Cleveland mediation attorney can help.
Laubacher & Co. represents individuals and families throughout the greater Cleveland area with a range of family law issues, including divorce. Our team of legal professionals is highly skilled at resolving divorces through mediation, with the understanding that this process is often highly beneficial to our clients. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today at 440-356-5700 or reach out online.